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CMED dean, Ross: Departing associate dean ‘gets to go home and live that dream’

Dean of the College of Medicine Ernest Yoder talks briefly to the Board of Trustees during Thursday morning’s meeting. Yoder said CMED remains on track for funding, and should start accepting students in 2013. (Chuck Miller/Photo Editor)

The head of Central Michigan University’s College of Medicine said Thursday he was aware of Dr. Lori Arviso Alvord’s interest in going to Arizona.

“She’s going home,” dean Ernest Yoder said.

Yoder, speaking before the trustees meeting Thursday morning at CMU, said Alvord made him aware of her interest in taking a job as the associate dean of University of Arizona’s College of Medicine four to five months ago. CMU announced Alvord’s resignation Wednesday after she accepted the position of associate dean for student affairs at the Tucson, Ariz.-based school.

University President George Ross said he interviewed Alvord for the open dean position of the fledgling CMED back in 2010. They talked medicines and how she wanted to help Native tribes around Michigan, including the local Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe.

A member of the Navajo Indian tribe herself, Alvord was inspired to become a physician at eight years old when she met the only Native American doctor on the reservation, Ross said.

“She gets to go home and live that dream,” Ross said. “We’re very happy for her.”

Alvord ends her duties at CMU on Aug. 31. Until then, she is working with Dr. Joel Lanphear, who will replace Alvord in an interim role. Ross says Yoder is actively seeking new applicants and hopes to have a replacement filled in the fall.

Despite losing its second associate dean in two years, Ross remains confident about the project. Yoder said they have addressed the five areas of concern named in the Liaison Committee on Medical Education’s preliminary accreditation report. About 500 applications have already come in, many from Michigan, and they will begin the interview process next month and begin accepting students in mid- to late-October.

Kathy Wilbur, vice president of development and external relations, said Thursday the university has raised 56 percent of its $25 million goal for CMED. Naming opportunities within the facility, ranging from $25,000 to $1 million-plus, are also available.

Yoder also received good news at the meeting when trustees approved $800,000 in additional funding, to come from university reserves, for the design development phase of the medical school’s Saginaw campus, also known as CMED East. To date, CMU has invested $1.75 million into CMED East.

Once the design phase begins, officials will have a better idea as to what the facility will cost, Yoder said.

“We’re concentrating on the three F’s: funding, facilities and faculty,” Yoder said. “Those are the three key areas the LCME told us we have to hit, so that’s where the bulk of our work has been.”

Although there has been widespread criticism of CMED on campus, Yoder and Ross remain optimistic.

Even if it means having a sense of humor.

“What keeps you up at night?” trustee William Kanine asked Yoder with a chuckle.

In between laughs among those in attendance, Ross quipped: “Ernie, don’t call on me.”

“The president does not keep me up at night,” Yoder replied. “This is a bigger task than anyone of us could have anticipated. At least from my perspective, there is no way that anybody could have dreamed to prepare themselves for what it takes to start a medical school, but I’m super confident.

“We’re working hard to raise funds … making good progress with faculty, and facilities are coming into shape.”

-Managing Editor Mike Nichols contributed to this report.


  1. ummmm apparently those at Western Michigan knew what it would take to build a medical school and the costs and how to plan it well, Their process seems to be going VERY well, Oh and look they had secured the funding before starting another win for the broncos! University

  2. Also…$6.1 million deficit this year funded by reserves.  They make it seem like this is solely because of declining enrollments…But remember folks…CMU is currently giving $5 million a year from the operating budget to CMED (and much more off the books)…Just think if CMED wasn’t there….The deficit would be $1.1 million and the tuition increase could have been even lower.  Sigh.

    • The flaw with this comment is that UG course designators that relate to students who would pursue a medical degrees are on the rise (e.g. Biology). It is one of the fastest growing programs from a student credit perspective at CMU. Biology and Biomedical Science degrees are the main degrees that shift a student into a medical program.

  3. Michmediaperson says:

    John, the difference between Western’s school and CMU’s school is WMU is smart enough to take money from the pharmaceutical companies and CMU doesn’t.   In fact, WMU just named their new medical school after the Upjohn Company.  Smart move by the Broncos.  The pharmaceutical companies in this country have developed drugs that have saved the lives of tens of millions of Americans.   Our Med School staff has a problem with the drug companies because every now and then a drug company gets caught doing something unethical.   There’s a few bad cookies in every field.

    It would be unfair to paint brush CMU’s administration as corrupt just because Penn State, for years, had bad management, per the Freeh Report today.   Penn State like a couple drug companies have had ethical issues.

    I get a kick how they are breaking out the champagne bottles on the $800,000.   They should have taken that $800,000 and lowered undergraduate tuition.   They’re only 56 percent of the way home.   Not very good.   Perhaps, they should do what Western did.

    • Chhetripratik says:

      Look up Conflict of Interest in medicine and medical schools, and see for yourself if there are only few bad cookies or if the case is otherwise.

      CMU CoM is doing the right thing and what it takes to produce ‘good’ doctors; doctors, whose priority should and will more likely be ‘people over profit’ than those at WMU.

  4. Michmediaperson says:

    Since Barack Hussein Obama is now against all this outsourcing to foreign lands, I trust the CMU Medical School will consist only of American citizen students??????

    Or, is CMU going to be anti-Obama and outsource student slots to foreigners????

  5. Michmediaperson says:

    “Doing the Right Thing” is to educate foreigners and affirmative action racial quota candidates????  Ever try talking to these foreign doctors with their hard accents???  Can’t understand them!   You don’t know if they and the racial quota doctors are good doctors or got into medical school on the quota program.   Too bad CMU can’t accept the best 60 or so American students, THE 60 or so MOST QUALIFIED instead of foreigners and quota candidates.  I wonder how many multiculturalists when needing surgery request the best doctors……………….or request only minority doctors???

    What’s wrong with the drug companies?  Where would the doctors be without all the great drugs that have been produced in this country?  Look at how many people are living today thanks to all the great medicines and drugs.   CMU needs to quit being anti-prescription drugs!!!  Western got it right.  We didn’t!

    There have been some bad cookies in the drug business.  I know of one case very well because I know the person involved.   But, you have bad cookies in every field.  You going to shut down CMU because of a few bad cookies at Penn State in higher education?

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